Best way to get beer out: Homebrew Odyssey

I got some wheat beer homebrews from my pal. I tried opening one (It’s been @ room temp but motionless for at least 6 days. It was bottled last Sun) and it exploded like no other carbonated beverage explosion I’ve EVER SEEN. :eek:

Half the contents lie wasting on the counter, this nectar that is homebrew. While sopping it up I formulated my strategy for opening the next homebrew. I pinned my hope on the “Slow Release Principle.” My introduction to this technique was 11 years earlier, during my junior year of college. A friend and I audited Oenology. The “Slow Release Technique” was related by a mid-fifties, completely professorial Euglena researcher (He worked on Euglena!!).

I will send 50 cents to anyone that can correctly state the AA coding sequences in an euglena’s chloroplast

Anyway, the slow release principle, pioneered by Harve Lyman, master of Euglena, was put to use, in my attendance, on a bottle of expensive French Champagne. Harve deftly maneuvered his cork as he withdrew, so as to allow but a small, regulable, slit-like aperture. The notion is to slow the CO2 release on pulling the cork. In doing so, less foaming occurs (I don’t recommend this technique for post-pennant clinching victory celebrations :)). Additionally, since the remaining wine retains more CO2, there’s more FIZZ (And as they say in Champagne, France, “Fizz is Bizz.”). I figured if slow release worked for Harve, it might work for me.

Boy was I wrong. Less foaming over on the second attempt but it took a long time and still resulted in the loss of 1/5-1/4 of the contents. I pried the cap open only so far as to vent gas. The cap was still in place and acted as a reed valve, occluding outflow when I released tension from the church key. I worked for at least 5 minutes (which I submit is not a great deal of time given the average lifespan, it’s a long time to spend opening a beer). More and more gas (and subsequently foam as my patience wore thin) continued to escape. Eventually I reverted to the “Caveman Method.” I popped the top and shoved it into my mouth, savoring the contents as they auto-expressed.

How can I do this better? And since I prefer these beers @ RT, can improvements be made without chilling? Is the over-foaming more related to the immaturity of the brew, too much sugar remaining at the time of bottling, or too high a final protein content?

Not much you can really do about that I can think of. Sounds like your buddy used too much priming sugar when he bottled that batch :frowning: About the only way to solve the problem is to slowly bleed off the pressure before opening, which you really can’t do with bottles. I had something similar happen with a batch of wheat beer I brewed a couple years ago, as it was in mini-kegs not bottles I was able to dedicate an afternoon to slowly releasing pressure until finally it came out mostly liquid instead of all foam.

Well, basically, you’re screwed. If they are this carbonated this early, what you have isn’t wheat beer, but hand grenades. Give them back to your buddy and ask for some from his next batch. You know, the one he primes CORRECTLY!

Room Temperature just aggravates the problem. Your only hope to sample one of these is to get it real cold, open it all at once, and try to catch the overflow in a pitcher. I’d just dump it…too much trouble.

But they’re good. :frowning:

Do you think they’re dangerous?

If the bottles are sound, and you keep them cold, they probably won’t explode. But I HAVE had bottles explode on me in the past, usually when they get too warm in the summer. These sound like they have the potential for being bombs.

Drink it quick, and ask for more…properly primed.

You have two choices:

Chill the beer.

Open them in an ambient pressure of two or more atmospheres.

That’s a big part of your problem right there. Chill those suckers immediately, and keep them cold. That will go a long way towards reducing the pressure. If you prefer to drink it warm I guess you are going to have to wait until it warms up, or pour it into a glass and warm the glass up under warm running water, or something.

I am a homebrewer and I have never had a bottle explode on me but I have had friends whose bottles exploded on them and it is no joke, believe me. If the pressure in the bottles seems to be getting higher over time I wouldn’t even go near them. It isn’t worth winding up with a faceful of glass shards.

The foaming problem as such could be due to too high a protein content. The high pressure problem itself could be due to either 1) too much priming sugar, 2) bottling too early so that there was still a lot of unfermented sugar in the brew or 3) some type of contamination that is fermenting something else in the brew (for instance, some sugar the yeast don’t normally ferment) and releasing gas in the process.

I agree with LL.

I overprimed a batch and racked it in my closet. Even at room temperature, a few of the bottles had their necks blown off and my coats were drenched.

The problem is only going to get worse as the yeast continue to eat the sugurs and release alcohol and CO2.

I don’t know how effective chilling will be but the pressure within the bottle is a function of its temperature, so chilling will help but who knows how much.

I would open each one now. I would place a towel over the bottle as I open it to protect against glass, and perhaps place it in a bowl to save the beer that overflows.